The size and shape of a PC is more important than it used to be. A mini PC costs more and is less upgradeable, but takes up less desk space.
If you are interested in games, upgrade to a decent graphics card. To be able to play next year’s games, it’s worth upgrading to a more powerful card such as a Radeon HD 4830.
All modern PCs come with dual core processors, and so are capable of taking on tough tasks. Anyone who regularly undertakes tough tasks, like video editing and encoding, should seriously consider a quad-core processor, a more powerful processor.
There are plenty of reasons to upgrade the memory of hard disk. If you’ll be using your PC for gaming, video editing or other demanding tasks then you’ll want both 4GB of RAM and a bigger hard disk.
A quality sound system will enhance all manner of PC activities. To hear the surround soundtrack of a DVD at its best, you’ll need a 5.1 speaker system. Games can also use 5.1 systems. If you want to listen to music or want better quality sound, you’ll need a dedicated sound card.
All PC’s now come with widescreen monitors. As well as being ideal for watching movies, they feel more natural for working on spreadsheets and databases. A 19in widescreen LCD is now considered basic. Large 20in and 22in LCDs are available from around £130 and have a higher reolution. Decide if you want a glossy display or not. Glossy displays improve contrast and make images look brighter, but they reflect overhead lights and sunlight easily, which can be annoying.
The standard connectors can be improved with extra USB ports, to which most PC gadgets attach, and a Fire Wire port for gadgets such as digital video cameras. Look for a memory card reader if you have a digital and make sure your camera’s memory card is supported.
Windows Vista Home premiul is preinstalled on most new PCs. Any extra software bundled should be assessed critically. It may be that you’ll never use it. You may find a PC that includes software you’d otherwise have paid for, so you’ll save lots of money by having it preloaded.
If you only undertake basic tasks then consider a nettop. Nettops are low-cost, low-price PCs ideal for day-to-day computing tasks like web surfing and office applications. They use similar components to netbooks and so are very popular and efficient. Somenetbooks have optical drives for burning and playing DVDs and CDs. The more compact models do not have space for such drives.